Hugo van der Goes

Hugo van der Goes
Years of life: 1440 – 1482
Art Movement: Northern Renaissance
Painting School: Bruges School, Flemish School
Genre: Portrait , Religious
Country: Flanders
Century: XV

An obscure genius about whom little is known; spent his last years in a monastery, going mad. The only work known for certain to be by him is the Portinari Altarpiece (c. 1475). It was commissioned for a chapel in Florence and introduced Italian artists to new ideas and techniques of Northern Europe, and the technique of oil painting.

The Portinari Altarpiece is commissioned to be the standard size of Italian triptych. There are Portinari men (members of a prosperous Florentine mercantile family) in the left panel, women in the right (each with patron saints); the composite central panel has Virgin and Child (naked child on floor is a northern idea), Joseph and shepherds (an Italian idea); the Magi are at the back of the right panel.

The kneeling man on the left panel is Tomasso Portinari, agent in Bruges for the Medici bank — he was reckless and the bank was closed. Next to Tommaso are his two sons. The kneeling women on the right panel are Tommaso’s wife Maria and daughter Margherita. Much symbolism: scarlet lily as blood and passion of Christ; discarded shoe as holy ground; purple columbine as Virgin’s sorrow, and so on.

Hugo van der Goes’s major works are Death of our Lady, c. 1470 (Bruges: Municipal Museums); The Fall of Man, c. 1475 (Vienna: Kunsthistorisches Museum); Portrait of a Man, c. 1475 (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art); The Adoration of the Magi, 1470s (Bath, UK: Victoria Art Gallery).

References:

  1. Robert Cumming. Art: complete encyclopedia. – 512 p. – Moscow: Astrel, 2005.

Artworks:

  • The Adoration of the Kings (Monforte Altar)

    1470

    The Adoration of the Kings (Monforte Altar)   •  1470

  • Portrait of a Man

    1480

    Portrait of a Man   •  1480

  • The Adoration of the Shepherds

    1480

    The Adoration of the Shepherds   •  1480

  • The lamentation over the dead Christ

    The lamentation over the dead Christ

  • The Virgin and Child with a Franciscan Founder

    1475

    The Virgin and Child with a Franciscan Founder  •  1475

  • Crucifixion

    1470

    Crucifixion  •  1470

  • A Benedictine Monk

    1478

    A Benedictine Monk   •  1478

  • Diptych with the Fall of Man and Redemption (Lamentation for Christ): Fall of Man

    Diptych with the Fall of Man and Redemption (Lamentation for Christ): Fall of Man

  • Mary Triptych

    1478

    Mary Triptych  •  1478

  • Portinari Altarpiece

    1476

    Portinari Altarpiece  •  1476

  • Death of the Virgin

    1475

    Death of the Virgin   •  1475

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